"While Derbyshire’s only action star can’t compete with Taylor Swift falling off a treadmill, the ad has been sharing very respectably since release"
A famous face in your campaign can accomplish a few important things.
First of all, there’s recognition. Just a few weeks ago, we looked out at how Monster Headphones’ Cristiano Ronaldo campaigns have ingeniously made an asset of the athlete’s celebrity, spinning viral spots out of incredibly simple concepts.
There’s also the George Clooney-Nespresso model, in which a star’s supreme confidence is magically conferred onto the product itself.
LG’s latest spot with Jason Statham falls into a third category: the celebrity somehow reflects the ‘personality’ of the product being advertised. In this case, LG’s G5 smartphone is an oddball bit of tech and, appropriately, Statham is maybe the oddest action star that’s ever been.
Strange from the start
Even his backstory sounds like a pitch for a character on Saturday Night Live: a Commonwealth Games high diver, turned model, turned star of comically ridiculous action films. Statham is the affable face of self-aware schlock and, as such, is perfect for a spot as mad as LG’s latest. The concept derives from the G5 design itself: a modular smartphone whose performance is altered by the addition of insertable components.
This same-but-different motif inspired the lunatics at Energy BBDO to create a cityscape comprised solely of - you guessed it - Jason Stathams. While there’s an undeniable debt to ‘Being John Malkovich’, the approach to the advert is weirdly singular, adopting a tone that’s somehow simultaneously surreal and gritty.
The ad begins on the subway, where our first Jason Statham is playing on his G5. Soon the screen fills with rival Stathams, kitted out in wigs, dresses and all manner of Statham fancy dress. Since this is an ad starring ‘The Transporter’ himself, a meticulously-choreographed fight scene then breaks out and the assorted Stathams flee the train while the fracas continues. This is only about 15 seconds into the spot: so far, so bonkers.
From there, we catch further glimpses of Stathamopolis and the tone takes a further jump towards the absurd. There’s a Statham-baby, Statham dancers and one Statham who robs a bank while wearing a mask of - yes, that’s right - Jason Statham. The whole spot has the feeling of a fever dream you might have if you nodded off during ‘Fast & Furious 7’. But we love seeing agencies let their freak flag fly, and LG clearly gave the creatives a lot of room to play.
The spot culminates in an equally bizarre action sequence in which two Stathams face off, one riding a flaming motorbike while the other surfs a stampede of bulls. The existence of this spot is really a testament to how far online advertising has come in trying to snatch the attention of viewers already inundated with content across multiple platforms. If Jason Statham standing on the backs of bulls in a ridiculous wig won’t make you sit up, then what will?
With Apple on the offensive with its own barrage of celebrity-starring tech campaigns, LG has taken a bold bet on this wacky Statham-verse. While Derbyshire’s only action star can’t compete with Taylor Swift falling off a treadmill, the ad has been sharing very respectably since its recent release. With over 70,000 shares across various platforms, LG and Energy BBDO’s brand of insanity clearly isn’t as particular a taste as the spot might suggest.